Concern over competency of Prestatyn care home boss

THE owner of a care home who experimented with alternative therapies sparked worries she was “out of her level of competency” after allegedly disposing of tissue from a patient’s wound in a general waste bin.

Marie Eva Lourdes Mascarenhas was running St Chamond’s care home, near Prestatyn, with her husband at the time of the alleged offences dating back to 2006.

She faces five charges and a total of 16 separate allegations before a Nursing and Midwifery Council panel at Cardiff’s Parc Hotel after her fitness to practise was called into question.

They include using aromatherapy oils on a paralysed pensioner’s wound instead of a prescribed wound dressing and allowing another elderly lady with a serious ulcer to sit in a chair for long periods of time.

Yesterday Lucy Reid, head of clinical governance for Conwy and Denbighshire primary care at the time, said she was called in to a protection of vulnerable adult (POVA) meeting with Mrs Mascarenhas after concerns were raised over her care of patients.

Mrs Reid said: “She seemed very defensive and didn’t seem to understand why she was there or what she had done wrong.”

Mrs Reid referred to an incident where Mrs Mascarenhas was said to have cut necrotic tissue from Patient B with a severe sacral pressure sore. Mrs Mascarenhas is then alleged to have disposed of it in the general bin in the patient’s room.

The panel was told that kind of operation was only normally carried out by specially-trained nurses

Mrs Reid said: “You wouldn’t expect a general nurse to do it. There would be concerns you could cut too much flesh off and cause more damage than is intended to the wound itself.

“She said she was a qualified nurse and didn’t see anything wrong with dividing the wound herself.

“She seemed unaware of National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines.

“I was concerned she was working outside her level of competency.”

Patient B was also said to have been sitting on a chair for hours despite her ulcer being near her backside.

The hearing heard Mrs Mascarenhas had been warned in 2006 by the health board about using alternative therapies for NHS-funded patients.

Mrs Mascarenhas’ barrister James Townsend refuted suggestions patient B hadn’t been regularly turned to ease pressure on her injuries.

Mrs Mascarenhas and her husband are expected to give witness evidence today. The case is proceeding.